WHY WE LOVE IT
- It's sunny, fun, hip, friendly, relaxed—no wonder everyone falls in love with Australia's most happening city.
- Iconic sights: the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Bondi Beach, plus leafy Victorian neighborhoods, parks, beaches, marinas and quays.
- It's seriously epicurean, with some of the world's best restaurants and a buzzing café scene—plus excellent hotels that needn't cost the earth.
- Easy side trips to the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley wine region.
- A design-conscious populace makes for fruitful shopping.
- Good buys: Aesop bath products; Drizabone duster coats; Aboriginal art; clothes by Sass & Bide, Collette Dinnigan, Tsubi, and Marcs; Dinosaur Designs colored resin ware; opal jewelry.
WHEN TO GO
High season is high summer—December to February—though even winter can be balmy and there's an average of six hours of sunshine per day year-round. Seek bargains in early spring (September) and in fall after March (the wettest month).